Focus on ... Measuring social media

Charlotte Beckett, head of digital at Four Communications, on why evaluating data can show how social media fits into the bigger picture of donor engagement

The great advantage of digital is the wealth of data we can gather, writes Charlotte Beckett
The great advantage of digital is the wealth of data we can gather, writes Charlotte Beckett

Social media just doesn't work; it's direct mail that drives donations. How many times have we sat in meetings listening to debates like this? How often have we been the cause of them, as we succumb to analysis paralysis (nothing gets done while we ask "how can I measure the ROI of a selfie?") or mindless measurement (useless reports, regularly written, rarely read)? Meanwhile, the consumer is out there jumping from channel to channel, absorbing hundreds of brand messages every day. They probably don't remember where they first heard about you: Facebook? An advert? A conversation with friends?

Yet the great advantage of digital is the wealth of data we can gather. We can test creative, audiences, price points, asks and channels, making adjustments to our strategy quickly and easily. So how can we justify ourselves?

Think like a consumer

The journey from initial consideration to purchase and loyalty is not linear. We might, for example, research online, discuss options with friends, research online again, receive a discount voucher, then go to the store to buy. Fundraising is no different. We need to integrate all our activities, on and offline.

Connect data If we want to measure what matters, we need to connect all the data necessary to tell the whole story: web analytics, social media monitoring, advertising metrics, direct mail statistics, email management systems, CRM systems.

Get smart with data

Email might have delivered the click to donate, but how did each piece of communication influence that click? Whether using Google Analytics or more sophisticated tools, setting up attribution models (rules that measure how credit is assigned to each touch point to conversion) will help us see how social media fits.

Our communications have one goal: to reach donors and supporters at the moments that influence their decisions most. Quality data, regularly evaluated, will show just how social media fits into those moments.

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